Should You Exercise If You Have a Cold?

Exercise is a great way to keep your body healthy. Cardio, weight training, yoga all have their benefits. But what about when illness strikes? Is it better to hit the gym and get some exercise, or just stay in bed with a bowl of chicken soup? So, before you unroll your big exercise mat, let's find out.

If Your Symptoms Are Not Too Bad

First, let's talk about mild symptoms. If you have a cold with only mild fatigue or nasal congestion, you can probably head to the gym or go for a run. It shouldn't be too hard on your body, and if feeling good is your main goal, exercise will definitely help you feel better faster.

If Your Symptoms are Severe

Fever, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea are all signs you should stay home. The last thing you need is to give yourself dehydration or hypoxia by exercising while sick. If you are running a high fever or throat infection, it's especially important to take some time off so that your body can focus on fighting the virus instead of coping with an intense workout.

It's always better to err on the side of caution when you're under the weather. Your body may not like exercise as much as it usually does, and if you're really sick, forcing yourself to exercise will only cause more problems.

So, Should You Exercise?

Health coaches have a simple answer for this question. If your symptoms are 'above the neck'; blocked sinuses, nasal congestion, you may be good to go. But if your symptoms are 'below the neck; fever, stomach ache, nausea, then listen to your body and stay home until you've healed.

The Best Exercises to Do When Sick

If you feel up to it, we have a few suggestions for low-stress exercises you can do when you're under the weather:

Low-impact cardio: Light jogging, elliptical machines, and even a nice walk can help your body stay active while keeping you from over-exerting yourself. Avoid high-impact exercises like resistance training until you're better.

Yoga: Yoga is one of the best exercises to do when you're sick. It combines gentle stretching with deep breathing, helping your body slow down and release tension. Unroll your large exercise mat under the sun in your backyard and enjoy the extra vitamin D as you recover.

Stretching: It is one of the quickest ways to release tension and clear your mind, which you probably need more than ever when suffering from a cold. Spend ten minutes on your big exercise mat working through a few different stretches, then lie down and let your body relax.


Working out when you're sick isn't always the best idea, but it's certainly not the worst one. If you lack energy and your symptoms are mild, go to the gym or take a leisurely walk. Just be sure to ease into your workout so that your body doesn't get too overwhelmed. The best bet is to rest up, drink plenty of fluids, let yourself recover before hitting the gym again.

Should you exercise if you have a cold? - S36 Exercise